‘American Pickers’: Why Mike Wolfe Fought Tooth and Nail for This Motorcycle Part

by Taylor Cunningham

Thanks to his celebrity status, Mike Wolfe often finds some quick deals while bidding on items for American Pickers. But not all sellers let him buy an item too easily. And when one person refused to part with a rare motorcycle part, Mike proved that he’s a master in his craft.

That moment came during the Season 4 episode titled Pinball Mania. In it, Mike and his former co-star Frank Fritz dig through a massive Texas junkyard owned by a bearded car and motorcycle collector named John.

Despite the thousands of items laying around the expansive property, Mike almost immediately hones in on a rare early 1900s Indian Motorcycle Rooster Tail frame that is hidden away in a garage.

“They call it a rooster tail because the gas tank looks like the top of a rooster,” Mike explains. “It’s in really rough condition. But the fact is that it exists, and a lot of guys can build a bike out of that one piece.”

The extremely rare piece of history becomes a quick need for the American Pickers host. But unfortunately, John is as enthralled with the Rooster Tail as Mike, so he’s not looking to make a deal.

“I really don’t wanna sell it, ” John admits. “It’s one of the older pieces that I’ve got. And I like that I’m trying to put a museum together.”

The ‘American Pickers’ Host Hatches a Plan

Of course, Mike isn’t going to just walk away. So he tells John that he understands that he doesn’t wanna part with the item and then promptly adds, “how about a grand,” in the same breath.

Frank chuckles at his friend’s attempt and sits back to watch what unfolds. But he admits that he doesn’t think John will “be a seller.”

John says that he’ll think about the offer and tries to make the guys move on while saying, “It’s hard to pick another picker.”

Mike lets John usher him away, but he has a plan of attack. As he scavenges through some more rooms, he looks for some more interesting pieces and lands on some old bike wheels. So he throws out another deal.

“How about $1,000,” Mike asks as he holds the rusty items. “I’m still interested in the rear triangle that you don’t wanna sell. How ’bout for these wheels and the rear triangle, 3,000 bucks.”

John continues to hold strong and once again says that he has to think it over before selling. So Mike again moves on with secret dedication to score that Rooster Tail frame.

Mike ends up uncovering an old Marathon sign and gets John to sell it for $275. With one buy in the bag, Mike hopes that it opened the gates for more sales, like his frame. And Mike was right, the trick worked and John decided to part with the coveted item for $1,700.

“We didn’t buy tonnage,” Mike says. ” But the things that we bought are killer.”